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Archive for November 2017


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Friday mornings, from 10am through 12 noon, at the Lake View Lodge — weekly chess is coming on the community calendar!

I promised when we moved here five years ago that I would get involved. Naturally, the first activity I looked for was chess. Finding it surprisingly absent. So I wandered off to the Special Projects Group (despite being no handyman) and the Ragtimers (despite then not having a clue how to play the ukulele). But always swore that when I retired, I would launch a community chess club.

Chess was once an addiction of mine. An obsession. A passion. I used to own every issue of Players Chess News and accumulated a chess library with over 300 good chess books. Most days after putting in my time past 8pm down on Wall Street, I would ride the subway uptown to watch or play at the Manhattan Chess Club. A landmark knowledge system that I designed and built for the actuarial profession was fashioned after early computer work I did for myself keeping track of chess games. And one of my fondest memories was collaborating with Bernie on a board in a simul against Bent Larsen back the summer Bobby Fischer defeated Spassky. I’ve often observed that the family life I eventually chose over my chess life was my greatest chess sacrifice. But I swore that after the family had flown the nest and I had retired from my career, chess would join poetry and a few other private pursuits in making a comeback.

So sure enough, although my retirement this past year was closely linked to a campaign for an HOA office certain to grab as much time and attention as a family, my promise to myself was kept: within weeks after retirement, I had formally requested permission from our HOA Programs Director to set up a chess club. We needed to survey the community for interest, and of course the election and the past two months of office have made life rather hectic. But soon – perhaps as soon as December – we will be launching our club.

I myself anticipate resuming my atrocious losing record. My chess is like my poetry: I’ve read tens of thousands of poems and have an extensive knowledge of poetry, but have myself written no more than maybe a hundred poems, if that; similarly, I’ve played no more than maybe 50 chess games in any formal tournament, and could count on both hands how many of those were wins or draws. I never made it much past a 1600 rating back in the day, and I have no reason to expect that I’ve gotten any better through two decades away from the board.

Oh sure, I’ve played a few games notable enough to remain vivid in memory. Perhaps my most memorable experience being a club tournament game in Manhattan. I lost that one, but had fun pulling a double-knight sac playing the black pieces against a near-master. Our game drew rather a nice group of spectators that included several masters, who were curious enough to analyze the game with me after I went down in flames. Turned out that my instincts had been correct, and they showed me that I actually could have won the game, if I had known how to follow through. I had an open line and a very active rook, so I sacrificed the first knight to blow away my opponent’s pawn down the attacking file. Several moves later, finding no better purpose for my other knight and having opened up the adjacent line from my end, I sacrificed again, again to remove his pawn protection down that file. Within several moves I had both rooks and my queen bearing down against those two files, with my opponent holding only minor pieces between my attackers and his king. Suffice it to say that with his knights and bishops serving essential blocking duty, I didn’t much feel the loss of my own knights. And it was a perfect sacrifice: giving up material for open lines and an attack. Eh, but in the typical way I always played back then, I could see such things, but was never any good at calculating the final attack.

So don’t expect anything phenomenal out of my chess resuscitation. Even so, it will feel great to be pushing the wood once again.

bumper sticker [] - 64

Written by macheide

21 November 2017 at 7:36 pm

Posted in 64

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Decluttering aftermath

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Like mold and grime left too long in our gutters, every now and then aftermath needs a thorough pressure washing. Yet like how some are always quick to criticize anything that isn’t perfect in their opinion, I’m sure to deserve some new insult over still caring about aftermath as much as I do. But as for me, like when I go about washing up around our Carriage House or the Lake View Lodge, I don’t brush up aftermath for applause or recognition; I do it for me, because it’s my home and I prefer it be clean.

So yet again, I have much to clean up around here. And like with it is keeping my nightstand free of unnecessary clutter, I probably should make blog tidying pretty much a continuous activity, since I do seriously want to have this journal work well for me.

bumper sticker [] - aftermath

Written by macheide

20 November 2017 at 4:17 pm

Posted in aftermath

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Let’s add a new tag to aftermath‘s ragtag collection: PotCPMCA. And make PotCPMCA one of this journal’s categories as well.

Sixty days ago I was elected to be President for the Board of the homeowners association of the community in which I reside.

Mainly, it means that most of those other aftermath tags will see little if any action during the next 22 months. They said it would settle down after the first month? So far it has only gotten more hectic and convoluted and time-consuming.

I don’t really want to have this journal be hijacked by one single focus. If there has been any one thing characteristic of who I am and what I do through my entire life since my earliest memories, it has been that I have had widely scattered interests and skills and initiatives and hobbies and all. Even for the 40 years I worked as a pension actuary, I kept a full plate of non-actuarial activities; and even in my actuarial career, the trademark of my career was that I had extensive experience in a very diverse spread of professional experiences.

I don’t want to lose that. It is what makes it fun for me.

So I’ll strive to keep use of the PotCPMCA tag tamed in this journal. But if that comes at the expense of journalling anything at all, worry . . . then watch for me to emerge again in late September 2019, when I’ll be truly and completely retired!

bumper sticker [] - PotCPMCA

Written by macheide

19 November 2017 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Adrien, PotCPMCA

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